The Nifty 50 List of Watersmart Plants

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Did you know that 30% of the typical American family's water is used outdoors? The EPA reports that nationwide water use for irrigation is highest in the southwest region of the country due to our arid climate. With increasing water rates potentially forthcoming, selecting plants for your yard that use less water is a win-win... these plants will save you up to 15% on your water bill and reduce your environmental impact!   

Check out the San Diego County Water Authority's new Nifty 50 List, which showcases 50 watersmart plants including shrubs, succulents, vines, groundcover, grass, perennials, and trees. It was created to make it easy for you to enhance your landscape and save water. The brochure provides many options for attractive, readily available, non-invasive and drought tolerant plants that will look great in your yard.   

To view the Nifty 50 List, click here.  

Or, to learn more about upcoming water regulations expected to take place in San Diego County, visit The 20 Gallon Challenge.


Choose a Greener Cleaner

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Did you know that the chemicals used at your local dry cleaner could be harming the environment? Most traditional dry cleaners use a solvent called perc (Perchloroethylene), a chemical that has been classified by the EPA as a groundwater contaminant and a potential human health hazard.  

Choose a greener cleaner! Use dry cleaners that specialize in one of these two EPA-supported cleaning methods:

  • Wet cleaning: The EPA considers this to be one of the safest professional cleaning methods. It involves the use of computer-controlled washers and dryers with specialized detergents that are milder than most home laundry products. Visit for a list of businesses in San Diego that offer wet cleaning services.
  • Carbon dioxide cleaning: This process involves the use of non-toxic, liquid carbon dioxide (the same form used to carbonate soda) as the cleaning solvent. In case you're wondering, the impact on climate change is minimal and this method actually uses less energy than traditional dry cleaning. Visit for a list of businesses in California that offer carbon dioxide cleaning services. 


**Don't be deceived by a business that touts their use of the Green Earth cleaning method, which is a non-perc solvent that is also noted as a potential carcinogen by the EPA.


Remind Your Neighbor to Conserve Water

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Did you know that Governor Schwarzenegger has recently proclaimed a state of emergency due to drought conditions and regulatory restrictions impacting the state's water supply? There is a very strong chance that mandatory water-saving measures will be ordered in San Diego County in the near future.  

Now is the time to help San Diegans remember to conserve! Ever get irked by your neighbor's sprinklers that are watering the pavement? Or become aggravated by an apartment building running their irrigation on a rainy day? You now have a handy tool to give these water-wasters a friendly reminder to conserve!  

The San Diego County Water Authority has distributed pads of yellow door hangers throughout the county to help San Diegans alert their neighbors to potential water-wasting problems in their yards. Each hanger contains a checklist of common outdoor issues and recommended tips that can save thousands of gallons of water. Hangers were distributed in the March 1 San Diego Union-Tribune and will be distributed in the March 5 North County Times. If you didn't get any door hangers, you can download them and print them yourself by clicking on Help Alert Your Neighbors About Their Potential Water Waste or visiting


Be Green with Online Banking

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Did you know that if all Americans eliminated the need for paper bills by viewing and paying their bills online, we could keep 18.5 million trees growing each year?


If you haven't already done so, sign up for online bill pay with your bank. Most banks now provide this service for free. Online bill pay is a convenient and easy way to reduce your environmental impact (and paper cuts). You could also save up to $148 per year on stamps!


In addition, a recent study found that people who bank online reduce their chances of identity theft by up to 10% since there's no paper trail. 


If your bank doesn't provide free online banking, try  Mycheckfree.


Sweep it Up!

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Did you know that California is in a state of official drought? San Diego County water supplies are being impacted by historic dry conditions and court-ordered pumping restrictions. We can all help the region conserve more water!

 Sweep up outdoor dust, trash and debris instead of hosing it down. This simple action results in a dual benefit; not only does it conserve up to 18 gallons of water per minute, it also prevents polluted water from flowing down the nearest storm drain and into your local body of water.

 Visit for more information about water conservation, and to learn more about how to prevent storm drain pollution.

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